We’ve all heard those commercials: Lose ten pounds in a week! Eat all your favorite foods and still be ready for swimsuit season! Try this smoothie and have your hunger completely satisfied!
In a society where being slim rules, fad diets are one of today’s hottest trends. With their promises of fast and guaranteed results, millions hoping to shed a few quick pounds have tested these magic diets. The South Beach Diet, the Low Carb Diet and the Hollywood Diet all claim to be the system that works.
And they actually do work – at least for a little while. Sure they can slim us down in a short amount of time, but are these fad diets really beneficial for us in the long run? Our bodies are complex and detailed machines. Though they can stand a bit of manipulation through cut calories and specially prepared meals, truly changing them involves hard work and determination. Fad diets are certainly capable of giving us the results we want, but the long-term effect is minimal and the potential for damage is high. Here are a couple reasons why:
Fad Diets are Restrictive:
Fad diets are typically marked by their unique rules and specific instructions. For instance, they might cut out a certain food group (such as carbohydrates) or instruct that we eat only particular foods (like grapefruit) for a designated period of time. These rules initially shock our bodies into losing weight quickly, but their standards are ultimately unrealistic.
Since our bodies require very specific care, short-term diets can never sustain us in the long run. In order to stay healthy we need to maintain a balance of carbs, fruits, vegetables and even fats. Our bodies are thrown off balance if we rely on one food group more than another. This means our metabolism can’t keep up once we return to our normal habits. And we’ll typically return to those habits. Our bodies will eventually call for the nutrients they’re missing. So, a body can’t hold on to a fad diet for too long. By restricting us in this way, fad diets simply provide a limited quick fix to a more complex problem.
Fad Diets are Deceptive:
But, say we actually do lose a few pounds after trying out the latest weight-loss program. Feels great, right? But what happens when we go back to our old routines and the weight slowly begins to creep back? We might feel like failures; like we weren’t able to keep up with the system. In times like these, we must remember that fad diets not only have a physical impact, but a mental one. Because they promise minimal effort and immediate satisfaction, these diets cause us to forget the importance of hard work and self-control when trying to make major life changes. Their unrealistic expectations ultimately damage our self-worth and wrongly shape our ideas about the place of food in our lives. We’re all capable of living a healthy lifestyle. Therefore, being unable to live up to impractical standards is no reason to consider ourselves failures.
So next time you’re looking to make a few changes before prom or swimsuit season, don’t let yourself be tricked by the quick fix solutions of a fad diet. Instead, try to make small, but permanent, life changes. Seek God’s strength and ask Him what He desires for you to improve in your life. It may not be what you think, but it will lead to a happier, healthier you who’s ready to take on the world!
Healthy Ways to Watch Your Weight:
A fad diet may not be the best way to lose weight, but there are lots of other methods to maintaining a healthier lifestyle. Try some of these tips next time you want to make a few healthy changes.
- Add variety to your meals. A fad diet may tell you that a certain food group is bad, but a healthy body can benefit from all types of food. Try to get a little of each major nutrient in your meals: carbohydrates, proteins and even fat! The more colorful your plate of food, the more nutrients you have in your meal. That means fruits and vegetables are a great addition to any meat or starch.
- Learn to follow portion control. One of the biggest problems people have with weight-loss is learning when enough is enough. Check the serving sizes on packages of your favorite foods. Try serving your meals on smaller plates to trick your eye or fill up on fruits and veggies if the main course isn’t enough.
- Break away from the traditional three meals a day. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are how most people in the U.S. eat their meals, but this can often leave you hungry for more while you wait for the next meal. In many European countries, six to eight small meals are the norm. Try making yourself a healthy snack every couple hours instead of going overboard at each meal. This way, your hunger will remain under control throughout the entire day.
- Don’t forget about exercise! Sometimes healthy eating just isn’t enough. Your body is meant to be on the move. If you find that you spend most of your day sitting, make some small changes. Use the stairs instead of the elevator. If it’s nice out, take a walk after lunch or take the long way to class. Do whatever you can to keep that blood flowing and stay on your feet.
- You can still be active even while studying or doing homework. Watch your posture and squeeze your stomach muscle to help you sit up tall. Take a few of your textbooks and balance them on your feet under your desk. Then slowly lift them up and down to give your legs a nice stretch. Clench your glut muscles for a few seconds, then release and repeat. Extend your legs out in front of you and hold them for several minutes. It’s a workout for your body and your brain all in one!